A group from OpenStreetMap are gathering en-masse (well, 15 of them) to make a map of all roads and footpaths on the Isle of Wight, UK, which they will then make freely available.
MAPPING REVOLUTION TARGETS THE ISLE OF WIGHT
This weekend, 5th – 7th May, the Isle of Wight becomes the center of a global mapping revolution. Contributors to the OpenStreetMap (OSM) project are meeting on the Island with the aim of mapping as many of the roads and footpaths as possible.
The OSM project aims to create free geographic data, such as street maps, to anyone who wants it. The project was started because most maps you think of as free actually have legal or technical restrictions on their use, holding back people from using them in creative, productive or unexpected ways.
OSM contributors, including one travelling from Germany, will be driving, cyling, and wandering the Island with GPS (Global Positioning Sytem) Units recording the route of as many of the roads and footpaths as possible.
Further information can be found on the project web site http://www.openstreetmap.org/
In the UK, most current mapping is all privately owned (by the Ordnance Survey – despite being a government department, and a number of others). Using it can be either expensive, or you tread dodgy ground by trying to make your own derivatives from it (including digitising their aerial photographs).
With the rising interest in location-based stuff on the internet, such as geotagging, geocaching etc, in the name of the freedom of spatial information, there’s an “open source” mapping movement, which I applaud. It also sounds like quite good fun.
Related Link (blog): OpenGeoData